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HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — An 89-year-old Westmoreland County man was swindled out of thousands of dollars in a sweepstakes hoax.
State police say the Hempfield Township man was advised to accept a $35,000 reward in the mail or else he would be taken to a court by a representative claiming to be from the “American Senior Citizens Award.”
The scammers then told the victim to send a $10,000 check to them in order to receive the $35,000 reward and a free “Buwick” automobile.
“Part of him winning this award, he was also going to get a Buick,” Trooper Stephen Limani said. “To receive this award, he was going to have to give them a check for $10,000. They made him feel that he had punishment that he was going to receive by not accepting this award.”
After he provided personal financial information, the victim noticed about $15,000 was missing from his account from transactions made in late December.
“Because of the information he was able to give to the culprits over the phone, they were able to withdraw that $15,000 from this poor man’s account,” Limani said.
Police investigated and found the scammers were claiming to be from the US Sweepstakes and Fulfillment Company, which is a legitimate company.
The company had put out a warning about this fraud on their website, warning people not to send money to anyone claiming to be from the company.
Limani says scams such as these are some of the most difficult cases to solve.
Anyone who is contacted with similar circumstances is asked not to respond or send anyone money. Victims of this fraud or similar frauds should immediately notify their bank.
Anyone with further information on this scam is asked to contact Trooper Ryan A. Ilich in Greensburg.